LOBBYIST REPORT from Don Brazelton
DNR DIRECTOR GIPP PRESENTATION TO HNRC & SNRC. Director Gipp started his presentations by stating the DNR is NOT stocking cougars, bears and rattlesnakes in any part of Iowa. Evidently the DNR continues to be accused of these actions. He covered the following topics:
1) Chronic wasting disease. Shooting preserves are governed by the DNR and the Dept of Ag governs captive herds. He stated that CDW was found in a Davis Co shooting preserve. The animal was traced back to a captive deer herd in Cerro Gordo Co. Animals sold by this breeder were sold to a Pottawattamie Co breeder/shooting preserve. The DNR developed contracts with the shooting preserves to depopulate their preserves and test animals. He reported that both the Davis and Pottawattamie Co preserves had been depopulated. Currently the owners must keep the enclosures free of animals for 5 years. I assume soil testing will be required. Wildlife Bureau Chief, Dale Garner will address the HNRC next Tuesday.
2) State Parks. There was a large increase in usage last year. The DNR appreciates the funding for parks infrastructure upgrades and the Governor’s proposed increase in operating funds for FY ’14.
3) Woodland health. He updated members on the current status of the invasive species that are or may attack trees.
4) EPA dedelegation of enforcement programs. Gipp stated the DNR was in negotiations with EPA to address their concerns that have been narrowed to 5 areas. He felt confident that agreement could be reached. He was also asked if the Governor’s proposed increase of 5 inspectors was enough. The DNR believes that this will be adequate to address confined animal feeding operations and other required inspections. If the DNR finds this number to be inadequate, they will request more staff in the future.
5) Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Gipp stated he and Sec of Ag Northey would be presenting on the subject at a later date.
Gipp responded to the following questions:
1) Mining of sand in Northeast Iowa for fracking. He indicated that the Div of Soil Conservation dealt with mining issues unless they were river related. He mentioned the DNR is developing rules for fracking if the practice comes to Iowa.
2) The development of a 7-day nonresident hunting license similar to the 7-day nonresident fishing license. The DNR will look into this again.
3) Provide an update on the lack of support to privately fund pheasant stocking.
4) Thanks to the DNR for holding public forums around the State.
5) An update on invasive species caused by the Missouri River flooding.
6) The potential to increase vendor fees for selling hunting and fishing licenses.
7) An update on fish kills.
8) Desire for a crossbow season for all. Currently, crossbows are legal for handicapped hunters with permit. Resident hunters 70 years old and older may purchase one statewide antlerless-deer only license to hunt deer with a crossbow.
9) Any DNR bill to increase the sales tax to fund the Natural Resources Trust Fund. Gipp stated there is no DNR bill. The IWiLL Coalition is talking with leadership in both the H & S. If there is a “grand scheme” on taxes, sales taxes could be brought into the discussion.
10) Is there enough staff to handle a drought? Gipp stated a multi-agency task force has been organized, but that local entities would do most of the regulation.
11) Lake Delhi issues. Gipp stated the most critical issues were to insure wastewater protection and public access for recreation. There is also work to obtain landowner consent to have water backed up on their property to the height of the top of the dam. Regarding fish passage, Gipp stated the DNR is reviewing a report from the Delhi group and why fish passage is not feasible. Iowa requires fish passage, but he has the authority to waive the requirement. He stated it would be considered very carefully as he was concerned about setting a precedent that others may seek.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE BUDGET COMMITTEE. Senator McCoy, committee co-chair, specifically mentioned two issues of concern with the Governor’s budget: 1) the reduction in the Lake Restoration Program and 2) no funding of the River Trails and Low Head Dam Mitigation Program.
AG & NATURAL RESOURCES BUDGET COMMITTEE. Senator Black, committee co-chair, stated he did not support the $1 mil for 5 years for the Winterset water supply reservoir. The watershed is not controlled and the water surface to watershed ratio is too large and would continue to be a problem. He also mentioned this project should be in the Trans & Infrastructure Budget, not Ag & Natural Resources.
SOIL & WATER DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS (SWDC). SWDC were at the Capitol this week and address several committees. They support efforts to conserve soil erosion and improve Iowa’s water quality. They told legislators that clean rivers and lakes were important to Iowa tourism and our quality of life. They support the development of a “nutrient management” program and are promoting conservation tillage and cover crops.
SF 24, NPDES SIGNS. Requires an NPDES permit holder for non-storm water discharges to maintain a sign at points of discharge to surface waters. Includes specifications for the sign. Establishes penalties and allows waivers. Does not require the sign for feedlot operators or CAFOs. SNRC.
SSB 1005, WATER QUALITY. Strikes the requirement for the publication of notice in newspapers for NPDES stormwater and allowable nonstormwater permits. Allows aquatic herbicides to be applied according to EPC rules. Allows an applicant for a permit to divert, withdraw or store water to apply for additional time to provide information without incurring another fee. Awards such a permit by default if the DNR does not award or deny an application within 90 days of receipt. Strikes the requirement that a borrower under the on-site waster system program live outside a city. Strikes certain DNR reporting requirements related to the program. SNR subcom-Schoenjahn, Greiner, Seng.
LAWMAKER CONTACT INFORMATION
Governor Terry Branstad: 515.281.5211 or http://www.governor.iowa.gov/contact/
Iowa General Assembly (find a bill): http://www.legis.iowa.gov/index.aspx
Iowa Senators and Representatives: Find your legislators (if you would like a spreadsheet of all the current legislators, please let me know)
Iowa Senate: 515.281.3371
Iowa House: 515.281.3221
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